International NASW District helps those working abroad

Feb 18, 2014

By Rena Malai, News staff

NASW members who are thinking of moving abroad and taking their social work skills with them can maintain their U.S. social worker status and remain connected to membership through the NASW-NC Chapter International District.

The International District replaces the NASW International Chapter. Kathy Boyd, the North Carolina chapter’s executive director, said the International District has about 204 members who live abroad or who have lived abroad and are now back in the U.S.

“The International District can help members moving abroad with maintaining a social work license, work visa procedures, relocating and moving questions, and information on international conferences to maintain the CEs necessary for U.S. social work credentials,” Boyd said.

The district also helps connect overseas job seekers with an NASW International District “ambassador,” an active NASW member who lives and works in the general area where a member is looking to relocate.

“We have ambassadors in Europe, Israel, Guatemala and Australia, and we’re always looking to recruit more,” Boyd said. “The ambassadors help to provide a link for an NASW member living abroad, showing them the ropes of their new home, getting them acclimated, and providing support and guidance.”

According to NASW member Jayne Hart, who lives in Germany and is an NASW International District ambassador for the European region, ambassadors also help promote the social work profession, retain and recruit NASW members, and develop social and networking events.

“It takes a resilient person to want to make the move, but it’s such a rich, rewarding experience,” said Hart, a social work program manager with a U.S. military civilian contracting agency. “Depending on the country, the laws pertaining to taxes and licensure can get very complicated. It helps to be able to go to someone who has been through it.”

NASW member Jakob Bakst, a clinical social worker living in Jerusalem, serves as the Israeli NASW International District ambassador. He advises those thinking of moving abroad to have all of their social work-related paperwork in order and to make sure to get the necessary social work licenses in place as soon as the move is made.

“The first thing in Israel is to go to the welfare department and get a social work license,” Bakst said. “It also helps to have an idea of how the profession works. In Israel, a BSW is the determining degree and a license to practice social work is determined by the department of welfare.”

From the February 2014 NASW News. NASW members can view the full story after logging in.

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